The Q&A Archives: Gravel base preparation for wishing well

Question: Hello, I am a Girl Scout leader for 14, 10 year old girls. The girls have a Bronze Award project which is building a 60 in. tall x 24 inch barrel x 28 inch diameter wishing well from a kit.

I have been advised by the seller to create a gravel base for better drainage versus a cement base. We are on a limited budget and hope to create a lasting contribution for the public to enjoy for years to come.

What is the optimual gravel depth base for our wishing well? We will outline the walkway with some kind of small, thin border to prevent the gravel from spilling away from the walkway. What kind of border would you recommend?

What type of gravel would you recommend?

We are planning to create two deep holes to secure the wishing well with cement for security purpose since the wishing well will be in a local regional park in Laguna Niguel, California. The City Planning department did not advise us as to how to prepare the ground and instead are waiting to hear from us as to how we will secure the wishing well.

We also plan to make our own 12x12 decorative cement bases and create a short walkway leading to (apprx 10 feet length) and around the wishing. The ground is made of soil and is on a very slight ( 5-10 degrees) inclination.

Your recommendations will be greatly appreciated as I have not been able to find specific information. Thank you for your time and support. Sincerely, Susan Adams

Answer: I think your first contact should be the maintenance facility of the Parks & Recreation Department. Helpful folks there can work with you on the installation of your scout project:
Parks & Recreation
27801 La Paz Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Phone: 949-362-4300

I suspect there are city guidelines as to what can be installed in public places, as well as how to install your project so it meets the written standards.

If the soil is compacted (which I presume it is), all you need to do is dig down and remove about 6" of soil, level the area, install your wishing well and cover the bare ground with weed barrier fabric. Then spread about 4" of chipped granite or 1 to 1 1/2" rocks. I'd avoid using pea gravel because it seems to disappear in high traffic areas. For the barrier, you can find lengths of plastic barrier along with plastic stakes. These are usually soil in a long coil and you can pick up a few (depending upon desired length). They are easy to install. You just need to dig a trench, set the barrier in the trench and firm soil around it to hold it in place. Keep the barrier a couple of inches higher than the finished grade of the gravel to make sure the gravel isn't accidentally kicked out of the walkway.

I'm sure the above contact will provide lots of information for your scout project. Eagle Scouts are usually quite willing to help other scout groups with projects so you may enlist their aid, as well.

Best wishes with your project!

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